My closet is bursting with the few stories left that have nowhere to go.
Time took care of most. It was a massacre, I could not watch, you're
lucky to live so ever-far. I envy you that, I covet your stoic silence
and hate you for it and when I say hate you I mean love you with
the very last thread of what I have and what I am.
I am weary of short words posing as sense.
The clock towers of the world talk to me--
although the alarm failed when I had never needed it more--
our wretched way in the world, or at least it was wretched for me.
Know that I know it is possible nothing is wretched where you are,
that your soul has settled into its sweet spot. I no longer can guess
at what you think, funnily enough. So much for the wisdom of the keeper
of strays and musty card file of unwanted stories, stashed behind the
woolen winter pants, the next to go.
To think I might have touched your face.
I still don't know what bravery means to you.
There are still a few tales left and they want you to hear them again.
Look, I wouldn't bother you, but they're making quite a mess in there.
I've had to send away countless decent pairs of shoes, useless lingerie,
the ex-husband's good wool sweaters, to make room for the stories
still looking for a home. It's temporary, I tell them, and they snicker.
They have me, and they know it. Please I understand I try to be strong.
I tell them they can't stay here forever, or I'll be a goner for sure. It's one
thing to think that yourself; it's another thing entirely to hear it from the
midnight stories whispering like tissue paper behind the closet door--
the husband's closet, with its homemade tie rack, wouldn't you know.
They have nowhere to go and we both know they won't make it long
on the street, naive as they are. They think they know better, so I hush
them to bed every night and cry them lullabies that make them laugh.
To them, they've got the answers, if only we'd take them for a good
long walk, let them once again do the talking. I don't tell them that I've
seen other stories die, I don't tell them it's inevitable, that blood will run.
For now, let them rest. I know what comes first to you and I love you
for it. I may come last, now, or not at all. Give me a new story to work
with, something to know in my bones. I am dying of these old stories
climbing closet rods like devils, believing they are still true. Send me
today's news, take the temperature of that old heart of yours, scribble it
and send it, no penalty. If you never think of me, think of me long enough
to tell me this, to keep the closet devils at bay, to subdue them. If you
do think of me, tell me, because I die a little, now, in the mornings.
I won't come for you; we are too old for such fervor now. I am only
trying to save this funny life of mine. Was there a cuckoo in the clock?
Or had I imagined nothing, in that sweet time that was once?
My friend, my once love, I wouldn't ask if I didn't need this so badly.
But I need a fresh story, the doorknobs rattle.
Let me know if it is story number one (as we discussed)
or unexpected story number two (as we did not discuss)
or if it is story number three, hand pressed to heart still, and that old story
should be allowed to remain. If so, I will press it beautifully in a book
of poems I won't dare to send to you. Maybe all the other old stories
will finally give me some peace at night, let this ragged heart rest.
I am still that necessary fool, you know. I have given up on the giving up,
but don't let that trouble you. But if you prefer the lie I can say, no,
I would not wait 40 more years, who would wait that long for someone?
After all, plenty of fish in the sea, no one is that special.
How did I do? Don't fear it. I laugh at myself.
If anything, simply take it as what it is, what I always say: your beauty
stayed. My God, to be remembered, to be remembered, the way I
remember you? I am saying take it: carve it into your softest skin, know you
mattered like that once, to a woman who finally lost her stomach for the stuff,
her knack for all in and all yours and meant to be. I won't pretend that
this heart wants anyone or anything else. But help me, just help me,
change in my cup, every little bit helps, as they say.
A new story from time to time, to evict the old and rancorous.
Set my closet free, let my heart be what it has always been,
when it comes to you. That's not changing, and what of it? A good woman
can only do so much with a stubborn heart and closetful of old stories.
To love, to last, to see the beauty in you that you never did--
there are worse tales in this world, trust me.